Response of the Correctional Service of Canada to the 42nd Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2014 - 2015

Introduction

The purpose of the federal correctional system, as defined in law, is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by carrying out sentences imposed by courts through the safe and humane custody and supervision of offenders; and by assisting the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens through the provision of programs in penitentiaries and in the community (Corrections and Conditional Release Act, s.3).  On a typical day during 2014-2015, CSC was responsible for 22,958 offenders, of whom 15,043 were in federal custody (including temporary detainees) and 7,915 were supervised in the communityFootnote 1. CSC is responsible for the management of 43 institutions (comprised of six maximum security, nine medium security, five minimum security, 12 multilevel security, and 11 clustered institutions), 92 parole offices and sub-parole offices, and 15 community correctional centres. CSC also manages four healing lodges (included in the 43 institutions) and works in partnership with Aboriginal communities to support the reintegration of Aboriginal offenders back in the community. CSC employed over 17,500 people.

Over the last decade, CSC has faced numerous challenges stemming from a more complex and diverse offender population profile, resulting in new pressures on the Service and its operations. In response to the requirements of managing a changing offender profile and in achieving quality public safety results for Canadians, CSC will continue to focus on six key priorities as outlined in its Report on Plans and Priorities: 

  1. Safe management of eligible offenders during their transition from the institution to the community, and while on supervision
  2. Safety and security of members of the public, victims, staff and offenders in our institutions and in the community
  3. Effective, culturally appropriate interventions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit offenders
  4. Mental health needs of offenders addressed through timely assessment, effective management and appropriate intervention, relevant staff training and rigorous oversight
  5. Efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership in a changing environment
  6. Productive relationships with diverse partners, stakeholders, victims' groups, and others involved in public safety 

Health Care in Federal Corrections

Recommendation 1:

I recommend that CSC prepare a business case to seek additional funding this fiscal year to expand inmate access to evolving Hepatitis C therapies.  This initiative should be framed as an investment in public health and public safety.

CSC lists new treatments for Hepatitis C on the CSC National Formulary as they become the standard of care.  New treatments were added to the National Formulary on January 5, March 20, and August 21, 2015, respectively. CSC will seek additional funding to address the increased cost of new drug therapies as needed.

Recommendation 2:

I recommend that CSC's efforts to establish prevalence estimates for chronic physical and mental health conditions be complemented by a comprehensive analysis of annually tracked and reported trends and causes of natural mortality among the federal inmate population.

CSC Health Services, in collaboration with the CSC's Research Branch, has implemented a system to track the causes of natural deaths and related demographics among the federal inmate population and a preliminary analysis of trends and causes will be available by June 2016.  Prevalence estimates for chronic physical and mental health conditions are reported in a number of documentsFootnote 2&Footnote 3. Further work will be done in 2016-17 to enhance the collection and estimation of prevalence of chronic physical and mental health conditions.

Recommendation 3:

I recommend that CSC engage its Health Care Advisory Committee to develop a chronic/long-term care model that is responsive to the needs of the growing number of older/geriatric people behind bars. The model should be presented in time to influence CSC's 2016-17 operational budget.

Health Services has conducted a review of the prevalence of chronic diseases including age stratification, and of trends in age and geographic distribution of older offenders.  These reports have been presented to Health Care Advisory Committee (HCAC) and further discussions will occur in relation to an overall strategy.

Recommendation 4:

I recommend that CSC immediately produce an Action Plan detailing the steps to be taken to address the issues of concern identified in the September 2014 Accreditation Canada report. This plan should be vetted at the next meeting of the Health Care Advisory Committee.

Accreditation Canada provides a process that facilitates quality improvement and the implementation of patient safety and risk management practices. Following the survey, the organization receives a comprehensive report and an accreditation award. In the interest of ongoing quality improvement, CSC is required to submit performance indicator data and follow up evidence. Some performance data are required by specified dates and other follow-up data are required to be addressed during 18-36 months following the review.

Accreditation Canada has identified conditions to be met by February 2015 and February 2016 respectively.  The February 2015 commitments are complete and CSC is on track to meet the 2016 commitments.  CSC will continue to be accountable to the Accreditation Canada process and timelines. Accreditation Canada will review and reassess CSC's accreditation status in December 2018.

Recommendation 5:

I recommend that CSC establish a standing expert advisory committee on FASD to establish prevalence, provide advice on screening, assessment, treatment and program models for FASD-affected offenders.  The Committee should recommend a FASD strategy for CSC's Executive Committee in the next fiscal year.

CSC has adopted a multi-pronged approach to strengthening the provision of correctional services to offenders with mental health needs. This means that interventions and supports are provided to offenders based on their level of adaptive functioning and individual need. Offenders with mental/cognitive impairments are eligible for specialized programming, treatment and reintegration supports and services, regardless of having a confirmed diagnosis of a mental disorder or cognitive impairment which includes suspected FASD. CSC will assess in the coming year whether there is a need for such a committee.

Recommendation 6:

I recommend that the Department of Public Safety commission, in partnership with Health Canada, an independent validation of CSC's 'optimal' model of mental health care and report findings to the Minister of Public Safety.

This recommendation is directed to the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and lies outside the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada.

Recommendation 7:

I recommend that CSC examine international research and best practices to identify appropriate and effective trauma-informed treatment and services for offenders engaged in chronic self-injurious behaviour, and that a comprehensive intervention strategy be developed based on this review.

CSC will conduct a literature review of international research and best practices in the provision of trauma-informed treatment for chronic self-injury. Moreover, CSC has engaged an external expert with experience in the provision of trauma-informed care to First Nations populations, to liaise with CSC's Regional and National Complex Mental Health Committees and to provide trauma-informed case consultations for identified offenders with complex mental health needs. The literature review will be complete by September 2016.

Prevention of Deaths in Custody

Recommendation 8:

I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety request that the Public Safety and National Security Committee (SECU) of parliament conduct a study and public hearings into policy options for managing the care, custody and safe release of inmates aged 65 and over who no longer pose an ongoing substantiated risk to public safety.

This recommendation is directed to the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and National Security Committee which lies outside the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada

Conditions of Confinement

Recommendation 9:

I recommend that the Government of Canada amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to significantly limit the use of administrative segregation, prohibit its use for inmates who are mentally ill and for younger offenders (up to 21 years of age), impose a ceiling of no more than 30 continuous days, and introduce judicial oversight or independent adjudication for any subsequent stay in segregation beyond the initial 30 day placement.

The Correctional Service of Canada will be proposing amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act for consideration by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Recommendation 10:

I recommend that the Department of Public Safety conduct a compliance audit of the CSC's legal obligation to provide accessible, fair and expeditious resolution of offender complaints and grievances.

The Correctional Service of Canada will be defining a compliance review process in 2016, in conjunction with other complaint review agencies, in order to improve the overall complaint and grievance process.

Recommendation 11:

I recommend that CSC re-allocate resources to Alternative Dispute Resolution to ensure the program is funded and made available in all federal penitentiaries.

CSC will examine funding options in 2016-17 to make Alternative Dispute Resolution available in all federal penitentiaries.

Recommendation 12:

I recommend that in 2015-16 CSC undertake an external audit of its meal production services, with particular emphasis on safe food handling practices, equitable distribution of meals and concordance between the standards outlined in the National Menu and the nutritional value of meals provided to inmates.

All institutions are subject to a Food Premises inspection by an external qualified food sanitation expert at a minimum annually. These inspections are reported publicly through CSC's Departmental Performance Report process. Additionally, it should be noted that the national menu is reviewed by a Registered Dietician and is in accordance with the standards outlined in Canada's Food Guide. Furthermore, CSC has scheduled an internal audit on Food Services which is planned for 2017-18.

Recommendation 13:

I recommend that the Office of the Auditor General of Canada consider a compliance audit of the CSC's use of force review process.

This recommendation is directed to the Auditor General of Canadaand lies outside the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada.

Recommendation 14:

I recommend that Shield Walk Patrols be discontinued or, if not, be considered a use of force intervention and, as such, comply with all use of force policy and reporting requirements.

Policy will be clarified to emphasize the requirement to seek proper authorization and obtain a video camera when there is a reasonable likelihood of a use of force response using shields.

Aboriginal Corrections

Recommendation 15:

I recommend that CSC publicly release its study of the impact of Aboriginal social history (Gladue factors) on case management and its influence on correctional decision outcomes for Aboriginal offenders. This study should be accompanied by a Management Action Plan.

The Aboriginal Social History Factors in Case Management report was published on CSC's Internet site on March 2015. The report is available at the following link: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/research/r356-eng.shtml

Safe and Timely Reintegration

Recommendation 16:

I recommend that CSC re-tool its CORCAN employment and employability program to focus on building capacity in vocational skills training in demand areas, including significantly increasing access to Red Seal trades and apprenticeships, as well as sales, marketing and information technologies.

Vocational training plans have been integrated and vocational training has been aligned with Labour Market trends by working with specialized community organizations to provide the training and community recognized certificates. CORCAN continues to increase the number of offenders completing apprenticeship hours by working with the provincial governing body responsible for apprenticeship training, regulation and certification to have the hours worked by offenders registered towards a trade.

Federally Sentenced Women

Recommendation 17:

I recommend that CSC take full advantage of the expanded capacity in the minimum security units to maximize participation in the residential component of the mother-child program at the regional women's facilities.

The Correctional Service of Canada recognizes the importance of the Institutional Mother-Child Program and the need to support meaningful interaction between the inmates who are mothers and the child(ren) when it is in the best interests of the child(ren).  As such, the opening of the minimum security units are an important part of CSC's approach and will contribute to our ability to facilitate the Institutional Mother-Child Program.

Recommendation 18:

I recommend that the National Complex Mental Health Committee oversee the treatment and intervention plans of chronically self-injurious offenders and ensure external psychological assessments are conducted in these cases.

Clinical oversight of treatment and management plans is provided by the interdisciplinary teams at the sites who work directly with the offenders. Regional Complex Mental Health Committees (RCMHCs) work directly with institutional staff to improve interventions for offenders with complex mental health needs by reviewing and monitoring treatment and management plans as needed. These committees also review the need for external assessments. 

The National Complex Mental Health Committee (NCMHC) functions as a mechanism to assist and support the regions in providing an effective continuum of care to offenders experiencing significant mental health concerns during their period of incarceration; including those offenders who engage in chronic self-injury. RCMHCs present case summaries of inmates with the most complex needs to the NCMHC. Both the regional and national committees monitor progress in treatment/effectiveness of intervention plans against identified targets of treatment. As part of its mandate, the NCMHC reviews requests for specialized resources for these complex cases, including external assessments.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

2014-2015 Departmental Performance Report

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Footnote 2

Stewart, L.A., Nolan, M.A., Sapers, B.A., Power, J., Panaro, L., Smith, J. Chronic health conditions reported by male inmates newly admitted to Canadian federal penitentiaries.  Canadian Medical Association Journal Open, 2015.

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Footnote 3

Stewart et al. (2015). National Prevalence of Mental Disorders among Incoming Federally-Sentenced Men (R-357). Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada.

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